Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And that is a Fan.....

Ok, yep!  I am back on my soap box again. 

Ever wondered about the whole idea of being a fan?  Question becomes are you a true fan, a fair weather fan, a sports fan, a band wagon jumper?

Seriously, ask yourself that.

Here are some of the best quotes I have heard recently and you throw them into the category they outta fit.

(1) In a conversation I had just last weekend with someone I knew attend Texas Tech football games, I posed this question:   "How will Tech do against Kansas State this weekend?"  The response I got was spot on.  "We're going to win!"  Then I asked the dumbest question to date.  "Why do you say that?" and the young lady replied, "Because I always think we are going to win!"  The conversation continued with the concept that she did not typically talk football with the other football fans in her life as all she knew is she thought her team was going to win.  Made no difference where or who or how they were playing.  They were going to win!!  Right On!! 

(2) While visiting with a fan outside Levelland's Lobo Stadium on Friday night after a 21-to-nothing loss to Lubbock Cooper, I heard this statement.  "I sure wish we would have won tonight but I am so proud of the way our boys played.  We will get the next one for sure."  No that was not a comment being uttered from a coach working directly out of the losing streak handbook.  That was a fan off record (or so they thought).  After that statement, they went on to tell me how the volleyball team would knock off a district leader on Saturday. 

(3) With baseball season nearly ended, a discussion ensued with a gentleman and after praising the play of the Texas Rangers and explaining to me how the would win the World Series, they went on to explain how much better the Astros would be next season.  What?  Really?  The Astros are going to get better?

I have been in the radio sports business for 17 years, played competitive sports since I was five and have been a fan forever so it would seem.  I have coached, officicated, played, announced and cheered. 

I wear my reality cap a lot as a writer and announcer but I wear my fan cap too. 

No sercert around here that I am a Kansas City Royals fan, a Nebraska Cornhuskers fan, and a fan of all my area high school teams and as a fan I balance my reality factor and my true fan factor.

I always think the Royals will be a contender next year.  I always think the next play, the next game or the next season will be better than the last.

Point of the matter is this, what is wrong with just being a fan. 

Thinking your team is always the best.  Thinking it is always gonna get better.  Thinking that your quarterback or your pitcher is going to do it all.  Thinking your coach is just great and will do better.


Look, even if you don't know the most about sports, still just be a fan.  You don't have to know the most to be a fan.  Sometimes I suffer under the burden of knowledge knowing that my Royals may not make moves to get them in the hunt for 2012.  Knowing that the Nebraska loss to Wisconsin means no chance at a National Title.

Get out your team's flag, whoever that team is and fly it proudly.  Wear your team jersey around if they are ten-and-oh or oh-and-ten.  It is those fans who are the truest fans of all.

Just more deep thoughts from a shallow mind and thanks for your time.  Be good to each other out there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Money and Markets Win MLB!

Oh yes, we have all heard it!  Baseball has come down to just money spent and market size!!!! EVIL EVIL EVIL FEAR FEAR FEAR!!!! 


Ok lets take a peak.

Top Ten Payroll Teams 2011: New York Yankees $202,689,028 Out During ALDS
Philadelphia Phillies $172,976,379 Out During NLDS
Boston Red Sox $161,762,475 Failed to Make Playoffs
Los Angeles Angels $138,543,166 Failed to Make Playoffs
Chicago White Soxs $127,789,000 Failed to Make Playoffs
Chicago Cubs $125,047,329 Failed to Make Playoffs
New York Mets $118,847,309 Failed to Make Playoffs
San Francisco Giants $118,198,333 Failed to Make Playoffs
Minnesota Twins $112,737,000 Failed to Make Playoffs
Detroit Tigers $105,700,231 IN ALCS

So in case you didn't notice three of the top ten made playoffs and two are already out.  Where do the three that are still in fall in......

St. Louis Cardinals 11th Ranked at $ 105,433,572
Texas Rangers 13th Ranked at $ 92,299,264
Milwaukee Brewers 17th Ranked at $ 85,497,333

Ok so it must be market size!  That has to be it right.

Ok how about the top five markets in the MLB:
(1) New York Yankees   OUT IN ALDS
(2) New York Mets         Failed to make playoffs
(3) Boston Red Soxs       Failed to make Playoffs
(4) Chicago Cubs            Failed to make Playoffs
(5) Detroit Tigers            IN ALCS

The market system works like this:
Huge Markets ---  The only team is the New York Yankees.....wow.....yeah their own catagory!
Large Markets ---  
New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.   Two of seven made the playoffs and only one remains.

In case you wanted to know, the St. Louis Cardinals qualify as Above Average Market while the Rangers and the Brewers as just average market.

Well it must be those over paid cry baby bonus babies Right!!!!

Ok how about the top 20 paid players in the MLB:
This table refers to the salary for 2011 alone, not the overall average value of the contract. Salaries listed are according to the USA Today salary database.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, $32,000,000
Vernon Wells, Los Angeles Angels, $26,187,500
CC Sabathia, New York Yankees, $24,285,714
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, $23,125,000
Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins, $23,000,000
Johan Santana, New York Mets, $21,644,707
Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies, $20,275,000
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, $20,000,000
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies, $20,000,000
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies, $20,000,000
Carlos Beltran, San Francisco Giants, $19,325,436
Carlos Lee, Houston Astros, $19,000,000
Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs, $19,000,000
Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, $18,875,000
Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels, $18,500,000
Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, $18,500,000
Jason Bay, New York Mets, $18,125,000
Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, $18,000,000
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox, $17,000,000
A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees, $16,500,000

Ok, of that list of 20, just one, Miguel Cabrera of Detroit is still playing baseball.  Yes all other 19 are sitting on the couch at home cashing checks.

So now wait, is this pointing that good solid players playing as a team, with good coaching and solid owners win games?

Monday, March 28, 2011

What has Become of the Old Ball Game????

Sing along.....

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.

Ah yes. The immortal words of song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the unofficial anthem of baseball. In 1908 those words were written by vaudeville star Jack Norworth, who while riding a subway train, was inspired by a sign that said "Baseball Today — Polo Grounds". Ok, yes there are more words than that but those are the words that every baseball fan has grown up to sing. As one of the most recognized songs in the history of the United States, it is a tune that in the right circles is as popular as “Happy Birthday to You.” But ask yourself this, is it time for a remake. Be realistic. Every big song has to have a remake right. “American Woman” in 1970 by Guess Who, taken back to the top by Lenny Kravitz in 1998. “Break on Through (to the other side)” was a smash for the Doors in 1967 and came back with the Stone Temple Pilots in 2000. I can go on and on but the point is these songs all were big and behind some tweaking and revamping to fit the age, came back to like. That takes me back to Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Time for a revamping?

How about this.......

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me a hot dog and sunflower seeds
Eight bucks for a soda, seems right to me
We'll boo the umps and heckle the other team
Cause it just feels right
For no matter what the final score may be
We just are in a bad mood tonight.

Yeah easy true blue baseball fans easy, I am just joshin'. I love the game of baseball period. I love the smell of the grass, the sound of the bat, and the feel of the sun. I love the PA guy making the announcements, the organ music, the bark of the umpire and the taste of the seven-dollar flat beer. I love mustard on my shirt, sweat on my brow, and the feeling I get when the left fielder makes that sliding catch. I love the roar of the homerun, the groan of the double play and the joy and disappointment that it fuels. I love the fact that baseball, like any other entertainment industry, can give us as Americans so much joy over a weekend, spur so much discussion in the coffee shop on Monday and leave us breathless and wanting more. I LOVE THIS GAME!!

I hate where it is going.

I have been to a lot of baseball games. More than the average person? Not real sure but I know I have seen 10 different Major League teams live and in color. I have seen several college games in several venues. I have seen minor leagues, independents, high schools, legion squads, and about everything in between. I have seen some of the best games in great parks and I have seen ugly games in below average venues. Sometimes I have had a horse in the race and real wanted one team to win. Sometimes I find myself just sitting in the bleachers in some backwater town in the middle of the middle west not knowing anything about either team but just knowing four bucks for one in the bleachers is worth the fun in the sun on a Saturday.

The one thing that continues to ring true for me is this. I love a well turned double play. I love to hear a homer as it leaves the bat, I love to see the dust fly on the close play at second and I just plain love good baseball.

I have been a Kansas City Royals fan since I was seven. I have seen my share of terrible seasons. I have a great respect for Nolan Ryan and the Rangers. I have great respect for the power house teams in St. Louis. I even, though am not a fan of, have a quiet respect for the Yankees. I grew up watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers play. Yes I am a Huskers fan! I have great respect for what Augie Garrido has been able to do at Texas and the quality of baseball at Cal-State Fullerton, Arizona State, Miami, Rice and others. I wish all the best to all the teams in the Big 12 including Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Kansas and Missouri. Why? Why the love and respect for these other college teams and major league teams? Cause it makes for great baseball.

I will go anywhere and watch any team within my means and I drag my kids to any game I can. Why? For great baseball and the ability to learn and respect the game that has provided me so much fun, excitement, and passion over the last 30 years.

Recently I have the privilege to attend a game and watch a team I had never seen play in a park I had never been to. Me and the boys loaded up the car and made was an easy drive to the ball park. We got our sodas and our popcorn and settled in right behind home plate and got ready to see some awesome baseball. Guess what? It was awesome baseball! Three-to-nothing game with rips off the wall, bang-bang plays, pitchers throwing the nasty hammer and the whole nine yards! GREAT BASEBALL!

I enjoyed nearly every minute. Nearly every minute.

Seven pitches in, and out came the boo birds. Not a run on the board and not one hitter goes by and out comes the hecklers. “Hey ump, how much are they paying you,” and “you need to dump that water on your head and wake up,” and “get some glasses, you are missing a great game.” I don't even want to touch on the heckling.

Why? What is the point?

Let me point something out a few things that seem to get missed.

The average major league baseball team will throw over 24,000 pitches in the course of a season. Does it seem logical that an umpire may miss one or two? Find me a lawyer who tries 24,000 cases and wins everyone, or a doctor who sees 24,000 patients and cures everyone.

Two, do you think they hear you? Really? With all the noise, shouting, players talking and shouting and being fifty feet away do you really think they hear you?

Three. Have you ever seen an umpire change a call after a fan points out his mistake? Really?

I get the privilege to see a lot of sports and get the unreal opportunity to talk about what I see. Have I ever questioned an official? You bet your boots I have! I prefer this statement. “Well I thought that pitched looked outside, must have not been the case.” Or “I am not sure what that official saw, but it is not what I saw.” Is that perfect? No. Should I question them? May not. But accusing an official of being on the take, insulting his health or intelligence? NEVER!

I have been that guy in the stripes with the whistle and that guy with the mask and counter. Been there done that. Try it. I dare you! Get certified and go out and give it a shot. Good luck!

I am more concerned with this than the health and well being of our officials because let me tell you this, they don't really care what you think.

I am more concerned with the message we send our youth. We preach ethics and sportsmanship and how to win with pride and honor to our kids as they compete in youth leagues and high school. Then we take them to a college game to yell at umpires and heckle other players. Good thinking!

I hope to see you at the ballpark soon and yes I will be going back to the ballpark and taking the kids as much as I can. Come sit with us. Enjoy the game. Let's talk baseball. Lets celebrate the great plays and use them as well as the mistakes we see to teach our kids. Let's you and I sit in the bleachers and enjoy that over priced hot dog and soda (or beer if you are a hops and barley guy like me) and when our team wins, let's cheer. If our teams loses, lets me down for a moment but recognize that there is always the next game or the next season, and how well that other team had to play to beat our guys cause we ARE AWESOME! Let's have fun as we......

Let me root, root, root for game as a whole
and just enjoy the old ball game.

It's Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind. Thanks for your time!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Cold is It

(10) It is so cold Shania Twain  had to cover her midriff.  Record sales plummeted.
(9) It is so cold when I turned on the shower I got hail.
(8) It is so cold, Starbucks is serving coffee on a stick.
(7) It is so cold, politicians have their hands in their own pockets.
(6) It is so cold, flashers are running up to people and describing themselves.
(5) It is so cold, the penguins have begun to migrate.
(4) It is so cold Richard Simmons was caught wearing pants.
(3) It is so cold hitchhikers are holding up pictures of thumbs.
(2) It is so cold Al Gore is burning tires to stay warm.
(1) and It is so cold Pamela Anderson has been downgraded from hot to tepid.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Christmas Gift List for Your Man!!

Yes Christmas is coming and the goose is getting butchered or something like that and that means it's time to shop.  That means it's time for finding that something for the man on your list.  With that being said, let's think this over a bit.  There is just some things out there that are the common everyday gift for the guy and when you give it to them they smile and nod and think.....again!  So let's get some ideas starting with the no-no's of the gift giving list.


(5) Any tools from a discount store.  PLEASE!!!  Are you buying groceries at the gas station??!!  Buy tools at the hardware store!!!!

(4)  Singing fish and/or other animals.  Think about this.  One, they usually sing something stupid like that eeking eirking heart Billy Ray Kill Me stuff.  Two.....YOU CAN EAT THEM!!!!  If I am going to have a deer head hanging on the wall, I am going to have deer jerky in the freezer.

(3) Booze.  Are you surprised?  Here is the thing.  This is a good gift following certain rules.  One, if you know what brand your man prefers.  Notice I said BRAND!  Two, after you buy him a nice bottle of the creature, you can complain that he drinks to much. 

(2) Framed art!  REALLY! 

(1) Santa Clause anythings!  Sure giving him something he can only wear once a year and will get beat up by his co-workers for wearing it.  Yeah, he gets that, you are getting a blender.  Show me the shirt he already has that matches a Santa tie.  Santa socks!  Unless he is going without pants you are not going to see them anyway!!!

Ok know that I got that off my brain, let me give you some good ideas.

(5) A garage!  YEAH!  You want to make him give him the floor plans and the number to the contractor who will be building or remodeling his garage.  And make it cool!  No exposed studs and filling it up with totes and boxes of stuff.  COOL!  Keg fridge, big TV, good solid couch.  All of those things we need to get some serious work done. 

(4) Power Tools!  Cool ones that you have to have an installment plan to pay for!  FROM THE HARDWARE STORE!  Computerized Tork Wrench!!  Biscut Joiner!!  We don't even care what they do or if we ever use them, but we are telling our buddies about the new stuff and they will have to come over a pay homage!

(3) Apparel for our favorite team!  NOT FROM THE DISCOUNT STORE!!!!!  Get the good stuff for cryin out loud.  A t-shirt is NOT an official jersey no matter what the flyer in the paper said.  Fitted caps!  REAL FOOTBALL HELMETS (We can not promise not to test them at the office).  REAL STUFF!!!

(2) Tickets!  Now if you get tickets to Barry Manilow or Kelli the Pickler you are getting a blender.  We are after those big tickets.  World Series, The Masters, Superbowl, favorite college team, All-Star Game.  The good stuff!!

(1) In house Beer on Tap System!  Yes it can be done!  Find a good refrigeration guy and they can get it done.  Put the beer in the new garage and put taps in his favorite places.  The kitchen, the den, the bathroom......ok well I thought I would just sneak that one in and hope for the best.


(1) Deer on the Hood!  Hope about a rubberized deer that we can leave on the hood of our pickup or SUV year around.  SIGN ME UP!!

(2) Want to do a signing creature, how about Marilyn Monroe!  Now we are on to something!!!!

(3) How about the pocket putter!  Play golf in the office but it folds neatly so you can hide it in the drawer of your desk when the boss walks in!

Anyway, have a great and happy holiday and don't forget the reason for the season and the true man on your give list!

Until we chat again, have a great day and be good to each other out there!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Top Ten Ways to Tell You Live in a Rural Community

Top Ten Ways to Tell You Live in a Rural Community(inspired by Dave Quinn of the Levelland EDC)
(10) Nobody uses a turn signal because everyone already knows where they are going
(9) More accidents are cause by four legged motorists than two legged

(8) Our biggest fear......darn rabbits eating my garden
(7) Top three topics at the coffee shop...high school sports, how much rain did we get and hey who is that guy I have never seen him here
(6) Cops stop you, calls you by first name and ask how your mom is
(5) Traffic Jams are cause by farm equipment
(4) Neighbor buys new chickens, news paper reports the story
(3) Everyone has there name masking taped to the bottom of all their cookware
(2) You say a meet and greet....people ask what kind of meat?
(1) You know all your neighbors by first name, names of their kids, their parents and even the name of their dog

Have a great day and be good to each other!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time to Salute Those Rangers

It is time fans.  Time to salute the Texas Rangers!  Yes the Rangers have won a divisional race and square off against the Yankees coming up on Friday and for Rangers fans it has been along time coming.

Time to reminisce a little about the Rangers.

It was 1960 when the original Washington Senators packed up and left the capital city for Minnesota to become the Twins.  Major League Baseball had already decided to expand in fear of threats of losing their antitrust status.  The brought in two new teams.  The new Washington Senators along with the west coast team known as the California Angels. 

While the Twins kept the old Senators roster, statistics, and history, the new Senators and Angels began filling their rosters via the expansion draft and the story began.

The new Senators opened play in 1961 at what was Griffin Stadium and frankly were below average.  Frank Howard won two homerun titles in the stretch of two years but other than his towering shots it was a team that averaged 90 losses a season. 

The owner at the time was Elwood Richard Quesada who led a ten-man group.  He knew nearly nothing about the game and it would come back to haunt the early years of the franchise.

One of the biggest blunders was the DC Stadium lease.  Quesada's group signed just a ten-year lease on the park on led to the future move of the team.

During the time in Washington, the Senators were sold to two stock brokers, James Johnson and James Lemon, before being sold again to the hotel and trucking tycoon Bob Short who outbid none other than Bob Hope for the team in 1967. 

Short's first action as owner was hiring slugger and Hall of Famer Ted Williams as manager and it looked early as the answer to the Senators' prayers.

They stayed in contention for most of the 1967 season and collected their first winning season, but while the team appeared to be turning around, the financials were suffering.

Short had borrowed most of the money he paid for the team and with creditors knocking at the door, the team went through a number of questionable trades to bring in much needed operating money for Short and as a result the winning streak was short lived as the Senators again plunged into the American League cellar.

The Baltimore Orioles did not help matters.  The longtime franchise located just 45 short miles northeast of Washington was a machine.  The birds won four American League pennants and two World Series from 1966 through 1971 and it crippled the Senators attendance. 

The rough times even spurned an old joke about the team.  "Washington:  first in war, first in peace and still last in the American League."

In 1970 Short issued the city an ultimatum.  Sell the team for $12 million in cash, up from the $9.5 million he paid for the team, or he would not renew his stadium lease.

Many bids were made, and all fell short of the asking price, but Short had an alternate plan.  Move.

In 1970, the mayor of Arlington Texas was Tom Vandergriff and he had an idea.  Add a Major League Baseball team to the Metroplex.

The area nearly missed a team years early as Charles O. Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics, looked into moving the team to Dallas but was turned down by the American League owners and stayed in Kansas City to become the future Royals.

The good news was Arlington and Mayor Vandergriff had a hole card.  Turnpike Stadium was a 10,000 seat arena built in the 1965 for the AA Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs of the Texas League but in foresight by builders was built to current Major League specifications.

Vandergriff offered up a multi-million dollar up-front payment to get the team to Arlington and on September 21st of 1971, a vote of 10-to-two was cast by AL owners and the team relocated to Arlington in for the 1972 season.

Washington fans went ballistic when the move was announced.  A giant banner appear in the stadium announcing that "Short Stinks" and on September 30th of 1971, thousands of fans walked into RFK Stadium free as security guards walked off the job.  The attendance for that game grew to around 25,000 fans despite only 14,460 tickets being sold.  The Senators led the game seven-to-five with two outs in the ninth inning when fans stormed the field and raided the park for souvenirs.  With no security guards left at the park, a fan literally stole first base and umpire in chief Jim Honochick forfeited the final game to the New York Yankees nine-to-nothing.

While Washington closed down, Turnpike Stadium was growing and preparing for the change.

The stadium named was changed to Arlington Stadium and Bob Short announced that team would be known as the Texas Rangers.

April 15th, 1972 the Rangers opened with a loss to the California Angels one-to-nothing but bounced back for a five-to-one win in game two and the season was on.

Things were changing rapidly for the franchise.  Manager Ted Williams kept no secrets and announced his retirement after the first season after expressing a dislike and distaste for Arlington. 

Two soon to famous names showed up in 1973.  Whitey Herzog, soon to win titles with the St. Louis Cardinals, started the 1973 season, but was released and replaced by future Yankee manager Billy Martin.

The Rangers began to show color in 1974 when they went 84-and-76 and finished second behind 1974 World Series Champion the Oakland A's.  Mike Hargrove was named Rookie of the Year and Billy Martin named manager of the year and the sun looked like it would shine well on the new team.

It did not shine long as the Rangers came back for 1975 and opened 44-and-51 prompting the firing of Billy Martin and the hiring of Frank Lucchesi.

The next four years would be dismal but the Rangers resurfaced in 1977 and surged to 1981 and looked like a playoff team early.  Then the strike hit baseball and the Rangers fell yet again to the Oakland A's.

Five years would go by before the Rangers would post another winning season.  The off stretch included one of the most unpopular trades in Ranger history when Golden Glove catcher Jim Sundberg was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Ned Yost.

Attendance fell as wins fell and fans began to notice the heat and humidity that soaked that stadium for nearly the entire season.  They were even known as the hottest ballpark in the league until the Florida Marlins were added in 1993.  Temperatures frequently clear 100 degrees forcing night games even over the weekends.  Little did anyone know, that it would be in creation of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball as the Rangers had to get a special deal with the sports network to get their games on tv.

Into the late 80's and early 90's the team began to stabilize under the direction of longest serving manager in Rangers' history Bobby Valentine. 

He would go on to manage 1,186 games for the Texas team as fans saw names like Ruben Sierra, Pete Incaviglia, Mitch Williams, Bobby Witt and more.

In 1986 the Rangers were again in the hunt and after finishing 87-and-75, they fell just five games behind the west winning California Angels. 

It would be a 25 game increase on wins since finishing dead last in the AL West in 1985.

Then along came Ryan.  The most storied player in franchise history, Nolan Ryan was signed in 1989 at the ripe old age of 41.    It created a buzz in the ballpark and so big results as well.  Ryan reached 5,000 stikeouts, 300 wins and pitched his sixth and seventh no hitter in 89 and behind the big bats of Juan Gonzalez, Rubin Sierra, Juilo Franco, Harold Baines and Rafael Palmerio the offense looked to be in playoff condition.  The pitching staff added names like Charile Hough, Bobby Witt, Kevin Brown, and Kenny Rodgers.  The result was less than predicted.  The Rangers again finished second place and Bobby Valentine was let go in 1992.

During the era, the teams changed hands yet again.  Oil tycoon Eddie Chiles sold the team in April of 1989 to a group headlined by future President of the United States George W. Bush.  The sticker price, a mere $89 million and Bush would remain as the Managing General Partner until being elected as Governor of Texas in 1994.

During the Bush years, the stadium was rebuilt to the tune of $193 million and all with public funds.  Arlington residents picked up the tag with a sales tax increase.  Ground was broken for the new park in October of 1991 and became Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to the common fan.  The park was built on 13 acres of ground seized by the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority and in the process brought the future demise of the Rangers.  Landowners filed lawsuits of over $22 million and the Rangers failed to pay the tab.

In 1993, the Rangers again saw success.  With Kevin Kennedy at the helm the Rangers battled for playoff spots in 1993 and 1994.  Again the strike struck.  With the Rangers in the hunt Commissioner Bud Selig cancelled the balance of the 94 season leaving the Rangers again at the door step of the playoffs.

1995 the sun begin to again shine.  With a brand new ballpark that hosted the 95 All-Star game, Manager Johnny Oates put the Rangers in the race.  The Rangers would win the west but the celebration was short lived as after 24 years of playoff drought, the were beaten in the opening round of the playoffs by the New York Yankees three games-to-one.  Despite one of the most powerful lineups in Ranger history that featured bats such as Will Clark, Ivan Rodriguez, Dean Palmer, Rusty Greer and Mickey Tettleton the Rangers pitching collapsed and after winning the west in 1995, 1998 and and 1999, the Rangers never won a playoff series and after finishing second in the west in 2000, Oates resigned 28 games into the 2001 season.

While the Rangers showed title shots, the team again was sold.  Venture capital billionaire Tom Hicks bought the team for $250 million and even agreed to pay of the lawsuits from 1991. 

Prior to the 2001 season, the Rangers set baseball history that ended badly.  A 10-year $252 million offer was made to then Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez bring the slugger to Texas.  While Hicks was scorned by fans and the press for focusing so much money on one player, the Rangers again sank into the tank. 

After four years of cellar dwelling the Rangers management had a falling out with A-Rod and he went to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias at the end of 2003 and again the Rangers fell off the baseball map.

The Rangers did make noise in 2004 but fell short and while the team dwindled away with players coming and going, the financing for the team was falling away as well.

2005 was a train crash for the Rangers.  Relief pitchers Frank Francisco and Carlos Almanzar went under the knife for Tommy John surgery while starter Kenny Rodgers was sidelined for a 20-game suspension after attacking a camera man in Arlington stadium and the Rangers sank further.

2006 the Rangers closed at a third place finish of 80-and-82 and the future looked bleak.

2007 brought a new effort to Arlington.  The Rangers announced that they had terminated an agree with Ameriquest Mortgage Company on naming rights of the ballpark and while the stadium came back to the Ballpark at Arlington, the organization coughed up $2.5 million in advertising rates from Ameriquest leading to further financial turmoil.

2007 did look like a good year for the Rangers offense.  Sammy Sosa hit his 600th career homerun in Rangers uniform and Hank Blalock, and Mark Teixeria showed promising starts.   It was short lived.  Blalock exited the lineup with Thoracic Outlet syndrome and Teixeira was traded along with Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves.  At the time, the trade looked bad but has proved better than expected.  It included Jarrod Saltalamacchias, Elvis Andrus, and Neftali Feliz.  Eric Gagne also was traded away bringing in David Murphy and Engel Beltre.

It was a hot and cold year.  So cold, the Rangers set a record by being struck out 19 times by the Minnesota Twins on August 19th but on the 22nd scored the most runs in modern history as they plated 30 runs against the Baltimore Orioles.

2008 again showed offense promise.  Four Rangers showed up for the All-Star game.  Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Milton Bradley and Michael Young all graced the mid summer classic and made noise.  Hamilton crushed a record 35 homeruns in the Homerun Derby while Michael Young drove in the game winning run for the second time in two years. 

Despite the offensive talent the Rangers again closed under 500 at 79-and-83 and the beginning of 2009 looked bleak.  All-Star Michael Young asked to be traded when the team told him he would move from shortstop to third to make room for rookie Elvis Andrus.  After speaking with club president Nolan Ryan he withdrew the request and made the move.  Milton Bradley did leave via free agency but with all the adversity the team soared. 

The Rangers led the west in 2009 until they were overtaken by the Angels in August and September and with a record of 87-and-75 they fell short yet again and finished second place.

While the Rangers looked good on the field in 2009, the team was in financial ruin.  Owner Tom Hicks became the focus of several reports showing financial issues in his holding group, Hicks Sports Group,the Dallas Stars, the Frisco Roughriders, and Mesquite Championship Rodeo.

The group was in default on a loan of $525 million and the announcement of the Rangers for sale rang through out the league.

Hicks borrowed money from the MLB to make payroll in July of 2009 and the team sunk further in debt.

On January 22nd of 2010, Hicks reached an agreement with Nolan Ryan and Pittsburgh sports lawyer Chuck Greenburg for $570 million and the deal appear to be done.  The group, to become Rangers Baseball Express, would retain minor partners including Hicks, and businessmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson and MLB owners looked to be in line to approve the deal.

Trouble struck when Monarch Alternative Capital, an HSG creditor, blocked the sale stating that the sale of the land surrounding the park would not cover the outstanding debt against it.

The sale was blocked and the Rangers were forced into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on May 24th, 2010.

Back salaries had piled up to players such as Rodriguez, Kevin Millwood, and Michael Young and the team was in deep trouble.

The team went to auction with just two parties bidding.  The group of Ryan and Greenberg's only opposition was headed by only one other approved buyer, Radical Baseball LLC and Houston businessman Jim Crane.  The only other player at the time was owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban who had recently fell short of buying the Chicago Cubs.

Baseball owners fell squarely behind Greenburg as Managing General Partner and Nolan Ryan as Club President and the group sealed the deal in the early morning hours of August 5th, 2010 with unanimous approval by MLB owners on August 12th.

The Rangers, on the field, looked to hover until a 21-and-six run in June vaulted them to the top of the AL West.  Player moves followed as ace starter Cliff Lee showed up in Arlington followed by Mark Lowe, Justin Smoak, Cristian Guzman and Bengie Molina and the Rangers clinched the American League West for the fourth time in history with a win over Oakland on September 25th, 2010. 

The Rangers went on into the AL Divisional Playoffs and after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in back-to-back games in Tampa looked like the sure thing. 

Fans drew a collective breath after the Rangers dropped a Saturday and Sunday game in Arlington forcing a game five for Tampa on Tuesday.

With the game, Cliff Lee returned to the mound and again dazzled the Rays.  Lee threw a one-run, six hitter gem on Tuesday night while hanging 11 K's on the board to seal a spot for the Rangers in the 2010 AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

The series opens on Friday in Arlington as 15-game winner CJ Wilson squares off against Yankees ace CC Sabathia after a 21 win season for the 30-year-old.

This story is to be continued......................................